15 Red Flags That Your Product Needs Help From an Engineering Expert
Imagine you’re on a road trip, driving at 60 mph. Suddenly, you hear a strange noise coming from the engine. You pull over, open the hood, and realize you have no idea what you’re looking at. Your friends stare at you expectantly, but you’re clueless. It is a sign that you’ll need a mechanic, an automobile expert.
Likewise, in product development, there are instances when you might think everything is going fine, but behind the scenes, your software might be on the verge of a breakdown.
As a tech and non-tech decision-maker, you may lack expertise in product development. Without recognizing the signs that indicate the need for product development experts, you risk encountering challenges that could jeopardize your entire system.
So, keep an eye out for technical and business signs, and know when it’s time to bring in product development experts! But, hey,
What is product engineering?
Product engineering designs, develops, and tests products to meet market requirements and quality standards. The goal is to create user-friendly, reliable, and cost-effective products.
Read this article to learn more about product engineering and how it works.
Signs that you need product engineering expertise
Product engineering expertise helps develop and deliver high-quality digital products that meet customers’ needs and support business growth. However, the challenge is to know when you need to bring in product engineering expertise to ensure your product’s success.
1. You’re unsure of how to choose the best tech stack
Selecting the right tech stack is paramount for the success of your product. If you choose the wrong tech stack, you may face problems like:
- slow performance,
- frequent system crashes,
- high maintenance costs,
- difficulty in achieving scalability, and
- challenges in third-party integrations.
Product engineering experts can help you select the best tech stack for your product for current requirements and future scenarios. For example, they suggest using cloud-based platforms for scalability and cost-effectiveness or microservices architecture for easy maintenance and deployment. Or consider future requirements such as integration with other systems or support for new devices.
Let’s talk about Uber – which addressed the tech debt by implementing a hybrid approach. Its product engineering experts evaluated various technologies based on scalability, reliability, and maintainability.
Uber migrated its backend from a monolithic architecture to a microservices-based architecture using technologies like Node.js, Go, and Java. It relied on Apache Kafka for data streamlining due to its scalability and reliability. It chose Cassandra for its distributed database capabilities and Redis for its in-memory caching. A collaborative approach driven by product engineering experts led Uber to tackle tech debt and select the best tech stack.
2. You’re struggling to design a visually appealing and engaging UI/UX
Creating a user-friendly, visually appealing, and efficient UI/UX requires understanding user behavior and psychology.
As a decision-maker, if you’re,
- receiving negative feedback from users,
- experiencing low adoption rates, or
- have a high rate of user churn,
it’s a sign that you’re struggling to design an effective UI/UX. These issues can lead to decreased revenue and market share.
You can get valuable insights and expertise in designing an engaging UI/UX with product engineering experts. Product engineers understand user behavior, design principles, and emerging technologies. Utilizing A/B testing, they can create two versions of a feature or layout, test them with a subset of users, and analyze the results to refine the design. For example, they can test two different button colors to optimize user clicks.
Take the example of Apple. It overcame the struggle of visually appealing UI/UX by prioritizing simplicity, consistency, and attention to detail. One of its challenges was designing for users with varying technology literacy levels. Product engineering experts conducted extensive user testing and refined the design to make it intuitive and accessible.
By prioritizing user needs and feedback, Apple created a visually appealing UI/UX that is functional and user-friendly.
3. You’re unsure of how to create a perfect MVP
A successful MVP (minimum viable product) can differentiate between a failed or successful product launch. It becomes paramount for you to know how to create a good MVP for your product.
You’re having trouble creating an MVP if you’re,
- struggling to identify the core features needed to test your idea,
- are uncertain about the technology required to build the MVP, or
- have difficulty prioritizing tasks.
Product engineering experts help design a perfect MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for a product by identifying the key features and functionalities necessary for a successful launch. They prioritize scalability, which most business owners overlook, leading to technical debt and long-term downtime. The experts utilize their technical expertise to design a flexible architecture, implement best practices for code and infrastructure, and consider long-term growth and maintenance requirements.
Dropbox is a remarkable example of overcoming MVP challenges. It prioritized the core feature of seamless synchronization across devices, focusing on creating a simple and intuitive user interface. This allowed users to access their files from anywhere, on any device. By prioritizing its core feature, Dropbox quickly built and tested its product while receiving valuable feedback from early adopters. This approach created a successful MVP that perfectly met its user’s needs.
4. You’re having trouble crafting a scalable architecture
Without the proper technical know-how, you may face issues scaling your product as it grows. It can impact your ability to serve your customers effectively.
Some signs that you’re having issues with creating a scalable architecture are,
- frequent crashes or downtime,
- struggle to handle large amounts of user data, or
- finding it challenging to add new features without affecting performance.
What product engineers do is – guide best practices, technologies, and processes to design a scalable architecture for a product. For example, they help choose between service-oriented architecture (SOA) or microservices by considering the product’s complexity, development team size, performance requirements, and scalability needs.
Preferring SOA for legacy systems, enterprise-level solutions, and microservices to benefit complex ones, large development teams, and distributed systems.
Netflix faced scalability issues due to its rapid growth and increasing complexity. Handling peak traffic was one such issue.
Netflix resolved it by implementing a cloud-native architecture using Amazon Web Services (AWS). It divided its monolithic architecture into smaller independent, scalable services by utilizing microservices. Product engineering experts developed an efficient load-balancing system, distributing traffic across multiple servers. This reduced the downtime risk and improved overall performance.
5. You’re unable to create a product that can withstand cyberattacks
In today’s digital landscape, cyber threats are a serious concern for all tech-led enterprises.
To identify potential security issues, look out for signs such as,
- frequent data breaches or cyber-attacks,
- unexplained system or network disruptions,
- unauthorized access to sensitive information,
- abnormal system behaviors,
- suspicious login attempts, and
- unusual traffic patterns.
Product engineering experts can contribute to developing a particular product by incorporating security measures throughout the product’s lifecycle. For instance, they can address the unauthorized access challenge by implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), requiring users to provide multiple pieces of evidence to verify their identities. Thereby mitigating the risk of account breaches and enhancing overall product security.
Microsoft encountered the challenge of real-time threat detection across its vast ecosystem. To address this, it leveraged Microsoft Sentinel, a cloud-native SIEM solution. Sentinel provided a unified view of security events, while its machine learning and AI capabilities helped identify and prioritize security incidents. Product engineers played a pivotal role by collaborating closely with security teams to integrate Sentinel with various Microsoft products and services, enabling seamless data ingestion and analysis. This collaboration resulted in a more secure and efficient ecosystem, safeguarding customer data.
6. You’re using outdated technology and equipment
You might risk losing competitiveness, performance, and efficiency without proper modernization. Experienced product engineers help you identify the best technology upgrades to streamline operations and maximize returns.
They help you overcome,
- slower system performance,
- frequent downtime and crashes,
- limited scalability,
- security vulnerabilities, and
- Integration difficulties.
Product engineering experts can assist in overcoming outdated legacy systems by addressing compatibility issues during migration. They can assess the existing system and identify areas where compatibility problems may arise. With their expertise, they can develop a strategic plan to migrate data and functionality from the legacy system to a modern platform while ensuring seamless integration. They may use techniques such as system analysis, data mapping, and API development to resolve compatibility issues and seamlessly transition to the new system. one seamlessly.
John Deere, a leading agricultural equipment manufacturer, faced a challenge with outdated technology in their legacy products. The older machines lacked advanced technology to meet market demands. John Deere turned to product engineering experts who modernized their equipment to overcome this challenge. By integrating IoT sensors and AI, John Deere upgraded its machines, empowering farmers with the latest tools for enhanced efficiency and productivity.
7. Your product has high defects or failure rate
If your product has a high defect or failure rate, it may indicate,
- customer complaints or negative reviews,
- high return rates, increased support tickets, or
- low sales conversion rates.
Product engineering experts ensure a low defect or failure rate by prioritizing quality, reliability, and safety in their design and development process.
Let’s consider an example of a company manufacturing electronic devices to understand. It experienced a high failure rate due to component overheating. So, the product engineering experts redesigned the product’s thermal management system to tackle this issue. The company significantly reduced failure by selecting new materials, optimizing component placement, and implementing new manufacturing processes. As a result, the product’s reliability and customer satisfaction significantly improved.
Toyota demonstrated a similar commitment to excellence. It ensured low defects or failure rates by implementing the “Toyota Production System” (TPS), a quality control methodology emphasizing continuous improvement and waste reduction.
When confronted with accelerator pedal issues that led to accidents, Toyota turned to product engineering expertise. The meticulous redesign of the pedal assembly and the introduction of brake override technology to improve safety effectively enhanced safety. Furthermore, Toyota aimed to prevent similar issues by fostering collaboration between their engineering and manufacturing teams.
8. Your product lacks a modular design
A product’s lack of modular design and reusability can result in various challenges, such as:
- difficulty making changes or adding new features,
- longer development cycles,
- and high maintenance costs.
These issues contribute to a slow time to market, limited adaptability to customer needs, and decreased competitiveness.
Product engineering experts can ensure modular product design by breaking them into independent and interchangeable modules. For example, they can help an appliance brand wanting to develop a new line of refrigerators with interchangeable parts to reduce production costs. They can recommend a modular design with standardized interfaces and connectors, enabling the company to produce and sell multiple variations of refrigerators at a lower cost.
Samsung faced the modularity issue with the launch of Galaxy Note 7. The faulty battery design led to the device catching fire or exploding, resulting in a global product recall and significant damage to Samsung’s reputation and finances.
To avoid similar issues in the future, product engineers advised Samsung to develop a modular design approach for its smartphones. By designing and testing individual components before integration, Samsung achieved greater flexibility in product design, improved quality, and enhanced reliability. This approach reduced production costs and accelerated time-to-market for new products.
9. You’re struggling to adopt an agile methodology
Agile methodologies are essential to deliver products quickly and efficiently. Without experience in this area, your team may struggle to keep up with competitors.
Signs that your team lacks experience in agile methodologies include,
- missed project deadlines,
- difficulty adapting to changing customer needs,
- low-quality products, and
- communication breakdowns within the team.
These issues can lead to decreased customer satisfaction, increased costs, and lost market share.
Product engineering experts specialize in helping companies adopt agile methodologies by breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks, creating clear timelines and goals, and promoting effective communication.
Suppose a company struggling with slow product development and missed deadlines sought the expertise of product engineers. They recommended implementing an agile methodology, restructuring the development process by breaking projects into smaller sprints, establishing a regular cadence for communication and review, and focusing on continuous improvement. As a result, the company could deliver products more quickly and with higher quality.
Domino’s Pizza adopted the agile methodology by implementing a DevOps approach and breaking its extensive monolithic system into smaller, manageable components. One particular challenge was integrating their ordering system with third-party platforms. To overcome this, product engineering experts assisted Domino’s Pizza in creating a flexible and modular architecture that allowed for easy integration and deployment of new features. This approach helped Domino’s improve its time-to-market and enhance customer experience by quickly responding to changing market demands.
While the technical signs can prepare you for product design, development, functionality, and quality concerns, it’s just a part of the big story. You must also have one eye on business signs that comprise market demand, profitability, and product relevancy. So, let’s dive deeper into these things in the upcoming section.
10. You’re unable to find your ideal target audience
If you notice:
- a lack of customer engagement and interest,
- low conversion rates,
- high bounce rates, etc.,
It’s a sign that you need a product engineering consultation.
Product engineering experts excel at identifying the ideal target audience through market research, customer behavior analysis, and demographic identification. The complexity of modern consumer behavior, which includes multiple touchpoints and channels, presents a challenge in finding the right target audience. However, product engineering can leverage data analytics and technology to comprehend and track customer journeys across different platforms, enabling more accurate audience segmentation and targeting.
Coca-Cola, for instance, encountered the challenge of appealing to health-conscious consumers who were moving away from sugary drinks. Through extensive market research involving demographic data, consumer behavior analysis, and cultural trends, Coca-Cola found its ideal target audience. Coca-Cola developed new low-sugar and no-sugar options, such as Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, to address this shift.
With the assistance of product engineering services, Coca-Cola obtained expertise in formulation, ingredient sourcing, and production processes. It helped Coca-Cola to create products that met its target audience’s needs while maintaining its core product’s quality and taste.
11. Your product is not complying with industry standards
If your company is,
- struggling to keep up with changing regulations,
- receiving warning letters or penalties from regulatory agencies, or
- facing product recalls due to non-compliance,
It can result in significant costs and time-consuming challenges.
Product engineering experts play a vital role in helping companies comply with industry standards by providing expertise in developing products that meet regulatory requirements. Let’s take the example of a company that produces consumer electronics. One challenge they may face is ensuring their products comply with international safety standards, such as International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
In such a scenario, product engineering experts can conduct thorough safety analyses, identify potential hazards, and design products that meet the required safety standards. They can also help with testing and certification processes to ensure compliance.
Tesla complied with automobile and EV standards and regulations by conducting rigorous testing and obtaining certifications from relevant authorities. Overcoming the challenge of crash safety standards, especially with the unconventional design of their electric vehicles, was made possible through product engineering expertise. Employing advanced simulations and crash testing methods, Tesla achieved industry-leading safety ratings for Tesla cars.
12. You’re struggling to craft strong marketing and promotion strategies
Developing a good product is one thing, but its effectiveness relies on successful marketing and promotion.
A lack of effective marketing strategies can lead to:
- low conversion rates,
- declining sales,
- negative customer feedback,
- lack of brand recognition, or
- difficulty standing out in a crowded market.
Product engineering experts can understand the product’s strengths and limitations and create robust marketing strategies. They can also identify target audiences and craft messages that resonate with them.
For instance, they can help find the right balance between promoting technical features and showcasing the benefits they provide to the customer. A software product may have advanced algorithms, but customers may not understand their benefits. Product engineering experts can overcome this challenge by translating technical features into customer benefits. They can also provide data and insights to support the messaging and tailor the marketing strategy.
Dyson overcame the issue of devising effective marketing strategies by focusing on product innovation and differentiation. One obstacle it faced was convincing consumers to pay a premium for its vacuum cleaners.
To address this, Dyson’s product engineering experts developed and patented unique technologies, such as cyclonic suction, that differentiated its products from competitors. Dyson also emphasized the benefits of its products, such as superior suction and filtration, in its marketing campaigns. This approach helped Dyson establish itself as a premium brand in the market.
13. You’re lagging behind the competitors in the marketplace
For tech-led enterprises, it is essential to watch out for:
- declining sales,
- reduced market share, or
- difficulty in attracting and retaining customers.
Product engineering can help a business surge ahead of its competitors by enabling faster and more efficient development of high-quality products. Using advanced technologies and agile methodologies, product engineers can help develop products that meet current and future market needs.
Here’s an example of Disney. It faced the challenge of streaming service disruption from competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, impacting cable television. In response, Disney launched its streaming service, Disney+. Product engineering experts were vital in designing and building a user-friendly and technically robust platform. They incorporated personalized recommendations and a seamless user interface, differentiating Disney+ from its competitors. As of Q1 2023, Disney+ boasts over 161.8 million subscribers, establishing itself as a leading player in the streaming industry.
14. You’re unable to fulfill customer demands and expectations
The inability to meet customer demands and expectations can result in the following:
- decreased customer satisfaction and retention rates,
- increased customer complaints,
- declining revenue, and
- difficulty launching or updating products.
All these activities can lead to missed opportunities.
Product engineering experts help companies meet customer demands by leveraging their expertise to design and develop products that meet customer needs and preferences.
Customizing products individually can be time-consuming and expensive, hindering production scalability. Product engineering experts can overcome this challenge by developing modular designs for quick customization. 3D printing and computer-aided design streamline the customization process.
During the 2019 Word Cup, Hotstar successfully met customer demands by scaling up its infrastructure and optimizing video streaming technology. One key challenge it faced was delivering high-quality video streams to users with diverse network speeds and devices. Hotstar’s product engineering experts focused on optimizing video compression, network delivery, and device compatibility. They harnessed artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically adjust video quality based on the user’s network speed and device capabilities. As a result, during the India-New Zealand world cup semifinal, Hotstar managed to handle 25.3 million concurrent viewers.
15. Your product is yielding high production costs or low profitability
Technology-driven companies may experience high production costs, low profitability, and difficulty scaling their operations. These challenges can arise from the following:
- Inability to meet customer demands,
- Low sales or retention rates due to intense competition.
Product engineering experts help companies optimize operations by identifying cost savings and efficiency improvement opportunities. They focus on reducing waste, minimizing production time, and maximizing product quality.
For instance, they can use data-driven approaches to identify cost-saving opportunities without compromising product quality.
GoPro achieved low production costs and high profitability through outsourcing, vertical integration, and economies of scale. Simplifying the product line was another approach to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Maintaining product quality while keeping costs low was a challenge. Product engineering experts helped by developing efficient manufacturing processes and ensuring adherence to high-quality standards. GoPro achieved its cost and profitability objectives by optimizing its supply chain and manufacturing processes.
Scale, Enhance, and Launch with Simform
Tech enterprises must be alert to the signs indicating the need for product engineering expertise. And recognize them early on to prevent potential long-term damage.
Simform is a trusted partner for tech-enabled enterprises that need help incorporating product engineering into their ecosystem. Our team of experts provides end-to-end product engineering solutions, covering everything from ideation to launch. We ensure your products are scalable, maintainable, and user-friendly. We also focus on enhancing product performance, minimizing development costs, and reducing time-to-market.
Ready to elevate your product engineering game? Contact Simform today to discuss your needs and take your product development to the next level.